VATICAN CITY, FEB. 23, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II told his new cardinals the importance of being missionaries, because "we live in a time when people are hungry for the deeper things of the Spirit."
The Pope created 44 new cardinals at a consistory Wednesday, and on Friday he met them in Paul VI Hall along with 5,000 of their relatives and friends to came to Rome for the historic consistory.
The Pope greeted the general audience in different languages, and had a special word for each linguistic group.
Speaking in English, the Pontiff said, "The beginning of the new millennium is a time for us to renew our commitment to the mission entrusted to us by Christ, a mission rooted in the depths of contemplation."
Such a mission, he added, is not authentic if it is not preceded by "the contemplation of the face of Jesus Christ."
The Pontiff greeted a number of guests, many of them teary-eyed.
When he bid the guests farewell he said: "Keep your gaze fixed on Christ, bringing out of his heart an abundance of grace and consolation, following the example of the intrepid servants of the Church who throughout the centuries have given glory to God with their heroic exercise of virtues and unbreakable fidelity to the Gospel."